Positive Touch Access for Young Learners who are Deaf-Blind Positive Touch Access: Invitation to Touch Leads to Self-Actualization (Session 10C)
Main Topic: Deaf Community
Session Type: Skill Share
For decades, the field of education of deaf-blind children has embraced respectful, hand-under-hand communication techniques to enable and empower early learners. This approach is exemplified by the work of Barbara Miles (Talking the Language of the Hands to the Hands) and other leaders in deaf-blindness. More recently, in the adult DeafBlind community there has been a major shift in the way touch techniques are labeled and used when referring to people who are DeafBlind. Various systems/languages are being discussed and used, including pro-tactile, haptics & active touch. This workshop will address these theories and techniques through modeling and video sharing and discuss their applicability to congenital learners who are deaf-blind. The system of haptics, an influence from Scandinavia, has made great impact among some institutions and DeafBlind community members in North America. While Pro-Tactile, a USA DeafBlind adult community movement, has taken great lead and influence in the community at large and higher education institutions. These similar yet differing approaches have all had positive influences; however, they have also caused some confusion on use and applicability. The presenter proposes a shift in approaching these often tension-laden ideas and suggests an overarching approach: Positive Touch Access. Research in the field of DeafBlind education indicates the critical aspect of touch in early cognitive and communication development, as richly documented in the works of Jude Nicholas (From active touch to tactile communication: What’s tactile cognition got to do with it?). The presenter will provide an overview of these concepts, show video samples and show how to apply these techniques to children who are congenitally DeafBlind.
- Introducing touch at an early age encourages development of trust and social awareness.
- Various types and strategies for respectful touch are all acceptable as long as they are understood by communication partners.
- Touch techniques can encourage self-actualization in DeafBlind children and adults.
Keywords: deaf-blind, DeafBlind, tactile, haptics, touch
Ms. Susanne MorrowNew York Deaf-Blind Collaborative - Project Director
New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative
Susanne Morgan Morrow, MA, CI, CT is the Project Director of the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative (NYDBC), where she provides training and support for individuals with combined hearing and vision loss, their families and educators throughout New York. She has a masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling for the Deaf from Gallaudet University and began her career working with individuals who are DeafBlind at Helen Keller National Center, over 25 years ago. Susanne has also worked on the national level with the National Technical Assistance Consortium for Children and Young Adults who are Deaf-Blind prior to her tenure with NYDBC where she gained great perspective on statewide systems and readiness for change. Susanne is an experienced host and coordinator of conferences at the state, national and international levels as the interpreter coordinator and conference host. She was the lead developer of the module on Introduction to Sign Language and Braille for the national training modules for interveners, “Open Hands, Open Access.” Susanne has also designed educational manuals on best practices on deaf-blind interpreting and is a published author. She has been an adjunct professor at Hunter College where she designed curriculum on communication strategies for learners with multiple disabilities and deaf-blindness. Susanne is also a nationally certified sign language interpreter and as a designated interpreter for a recognized world leader who is DeafBlind. In this role, her work has taken her abroad to multiple continents, providing communication access at large-scale deaf-blind related events.